GIS - 26 September, 2013: Small planters and metayers need special consideration from both Government and partners of the cane industry for the local sugar cane sector to be viable, sustainable and more competitive.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security and Attorney-General, Mr Satish Faugoo, made this statement this morning while addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate (MSS) held in Port-Louis. He pointed out that it is timely to devise a package for the economic empowerment of this vulnerable section of the agricultural community.
Government has come forward with several measures for the metayers to stay in business and these include the reduced premium payable to the Sugar Industry Fund Board, advance to small planters and more importantly reduction of cess payable by them, he said. However, we are witnessing an increase in abandonment of sugar cane lands. On that score the Minister invited all stakeholders and partners to support this category of planters as their contribution is vital for producing the critical volume of canes and sugar for the industry to remain viable, sustainable and competitive.
Minister Faugoo said that we may need to revisit Multi Annual Adaptation Strategy and other strategies adding that stakeholders should remain mobilised to ensure the competitiveness of the local sugar cane industry. He urged the Board of MSS to revisit its marketing strategy and explore better options as there is now an impelling need for an integrated and innovative marketing strategy for sugar and other products from sugar cane.
According to the Minister the integrated strategy will surely have to take into account the refining service fees payable to refiners and the setting up of a sugar packaging plant, among others.
“Sugar cane and the history of Mauritius are inextricably linked and we strongly believe that this association will continue to stay”, he said.
Sugar cane does not merely provide an economic role but it is equally important for its ecological and environmental functions. The significance of sugar cane is gaining greater recognition as it is a crop par excellence said the Minister in his concluding remarks.
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